Plenty of options in well-matched Sanford

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

July 21st, 2018

The $150,000 Sanford S. (G3) for juveniles is not the main attraction at Saratoga on Saturday. That distinction belongs to the $500,000 Diana S. (G1) for the fillies and mares on turf in the following race.

But from a betting standpoint, the Sanford is more intriguing to me. This particular race has not piqued my interest all that much over the past decade. But I love this field and I think a few of these can evolve into something pretty special.

Here’s the cast:

#1 SOMBEYAY (2-1) – Morning-line choice gets a tricky rail draw with Javier Castellano taking the reins. Into Mischief colt rallied for a good second in the Tremont last time for Todd Pletcher and should get a lively pace to rally into today. 

#2 LEXITONIAN (3-1) – The second from the Pletcher barn overcame an inside post at first asking to win like a good thing. Son of Speightstown worked a solid five-eighths on the Oklahoma last weekend and gets go-to pilot John Velazquez in the stirrups.

#3 KNICKS GO (10-1) – Kentucky invader was easily best in his debut at Ellis Park. Ben Colebrook pupil led throughout and gets a class test today. Luis Saez will be in the silks.

#4 WHISKEY ECHO (8-1) – Steve Asmussen trainee led from gate-to-wire in a facile debut score at Belmont Park. Son of Tiznow only defeated three foes but did it the right way. Colt has trained rapidly of late and will also get Lasix.

#6 CHASE GREATNESS (8-1) – More Than Ready colt was game in a strong maiden tally in the slop at Churchill Downs. Chestnut earned a solid BRIS Speed figure of 88 which equals the top figure in the cast. Robby Albarado stays.

#7 BANO SOLO (6-1) – Second from the Asmussen shedrow was a wire-to-wire debut victor beneath the Twin Spires and rates an exciting prospect. $400,000 colt is from the first crop of champion Goldencents and has been up here all month, showing a trio of works on the Oklahoma.

#8 STRIKE SILVER (3-1) – Mark Casse charge broke best and held off a potentially good one (#2 NITROUS runs in Race 6 today) to win first out. Expensive son of Violence also registered an 88 Speed number and has the benefit of a morning breeze on the main oval at Saratoga. I like his outside draw, as well. Julien Leparoux has the return assignment.


Speed played well on opening day and this race has a lot of it. Five of the seven led throughout in their respective wins. The outside trio might be the swiftest by a narrow margin from the gate and I expect each to be sent.

Lexitonian intrigues me most of the Pletcher pair and gets the slight nod. Calumet homebred attracts Velazquez and the extra furlong will suit him well behind a contested tempo.


$20 Win: #2 LEXITONIAN = $20

$4 Exacta Box: 2-7-8 = $24